30 August 2017
|Higher Tn Church On Top Rugged P. Bossington Selworthy Return Read Me|
The day started rainy and the weather forecast was for inclement weather all day. So I thought I'd go up to Higher Town and potter around. In pottering around I could see what the Weather Gods really intended, forecast or no forecast. I spent a while in the church, having accepted an invitation by the Bell Ringers to have a look at how they practiced their art, on this occasion using computers so as to maintain good relations with the neighbours! I was then invited to go further up the winding stairs to the belfry.
After that I went on to join the South West Coast Path. As I reached the Rugged Path, the clouds had lifted - luckily not according to the weather forecast! For the rest of the day, the sun shone benignly on my modest peregrinations along the said Rugged Path, then round Bossington Hill, and via Saint Agnes's Well to Selworthy Green. I then ascended Selworthy Combe and headed for that point near "The Beacon" where the pine trees frame the view over Minehead and beyond to the Quantocks. The setting sun gave this view a special feel, a fitting finale to my sojourn in Minehead!
So here is what this page has in store for you. Here indeed is your chance to find out how I enjoyed my nice mid-week end-of-August walk.
Enjoy your browse!
The paving in the square around Queen Anne's Statue was still shiny with the overnight rain. Indeed, even as I set off for Higher Town, was still some gentle drizzle. Anyhow, I set off - rain or no rain.
It seemed a good idea to revisit Saint Michael's Church, and after that to gauge the weather conditions. It turned out to be an interesting visit. Near the mediaeval font, I saw that the door leading to the spiral staircase ascending the church tower was open, and that the said staircase was lit. Going up, I first met the bell ringers, practicing in the room below the belfry. The bell ringers bid me welcome and explained some of the aspects of their art. Then I was invited to the belfry above, where I could admire the bells and the arrangement of ropes and pulleys used to ring them. There are 10 bells, each weighing from several hundred weights up to about ½ a ton. The weights of the bells, of course, imply an appropriate arrangement of pulleys to allow mere mortals to activate the said bells.
From Higher Town it's easy to get to the South West Coast Path without having to go down to the harbour. A local, exercising his dog, told me that part of the path was actually metalled in order to create a road for the wealthy in the locality who wanted to go out for a scenic ride in their horse and carriage. He showed me the difference between the normal oak tree and the Holm Oak by pointing to the leaves of the two trees next to each other. He reminded me of the famous place nearby where one could see Minehead nicely framed by pine trees - I would come to this spot in the evening. He also spoke about the confusion map makers have about where North Hill actually is. Also, he said it was possible to leave the Rugged Path half way despite official suggestions to the contrary! So, a veritable mine of information! It often pays to speak to people!
The Rugged Path runs roughly parallel to the upper part of the South West Coast Path (SWCP). In other words, it's a rugged alternative, all 2½ miles of it, to the upper instantiation of the SWCP. The Rugged Path, as is to be expected, has plenty of ups and downs. There are also some nice narrow bits high above the shore. All very picturesque.
At the end of the Rugged Path there were a number of options. I tried to reach Hurlstone Point from above. In 2009 I reached Hurlstone Point from the "level" path below. However, the path from above got lost in prickly gorse, so I enjoyed the views and landscape on the way, and then returned to go around the side of Bossington Hill. From the said hill, I could then take the path through the woods to Selworthy.
From Bossington Hill, I took the path through the woods, past Saint Agnes's Fountain. I enjoyed the fine views across to Dunkery Beacon. Eventually, after not too long a time, I reached the thatched cottages on Selworthy Green. The Green looked very nice in the late afternoon sun. I then took another interesting look around Selworthy's 15th century (Grade I listed) church before heading up Selworthy Combe for the last "leg" (excuse the pun) of my walk.
As the shadows are lengthening, I go up Selworthy Combe. From the top, I can look again across to South Wales. The signpost points to the Rugged Path which I had traversed in the morning. The woods and the path to Minehead's Higher Town are close. A deviation to "The Beacon" brings me to the famous view through the pines over Minehead. On the way to Higher Town, I pass the Japanese Gate before reaching Minehead's church of Saint Michael which I had visited - belfry and all - this morning in the fulfilled hope of the weather clearing.
This was my last day in Minehead, made all the sweeter because the weather, contrary to forecasts, turned out fine and sunny. It's been a succession of nice days in Minehead, with good company over the August Bank Holiday. Tomorrow I would take the mid-day train from Taunton to Paddington as part of my return home, taking with me memories of another excellent away break in the West Country. Thanks to all who contributed and made these days such a success!